5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Website Theme

Website ThemeFor most beginners, selecting a theme for their website is an overwhelming task. If you’re one of them then you need to know this: A theme is simply your website’s outfit. For this reason, you must choose a website theme that styles your images, pages and blog posts in a way that make them look good and easy on the eyes. Here are 5 things to consider when selecting a website theme!

Most people find it difficult to pick a website theme that fits the content of their site as they are literally thousands of themes to choose from, which can be overwhelming. Often, the problem stems from not knowing what the theme is for.  The basic purpose of a theme is styling your content by applying fonts, color and layout to transform it into something that captures attention and encourages visitors to stay on your website.

Since it helps to style your website content, keep it responsive across devices and load it in the blink of an eye, choosing the right theme for your website is crucial. However, with so many available options, choosing a website them can be a daunting task to say the least. Before you go shopping for a theme or invest money into one, find out how you can select the perfect website theme.

So, how can you choose the right website theme? To pick the perfect website them, following are 5 things to consider when selecting a website theme.

Simplicity

The first step in choosing the right website theme is embracing or striving for simplicity. While a website design service can provide you with a lot of flashy animations, complex layouts and a range of colors, you should simply look for a theme with a design layout that helps you support your objective. Your website needs to look good but you should not compromise simplicity and usability for an aesthetically pleasing website.

Contrary to popular belief, a good theme does not refer to a theme that looks good rather it refers to a theme that attracts subscribers or gets new business. Complicated themes take the user away from the desired call-to-action (CTA), and are a nuisance to navigate on smart phone or other mobile devices. So, make sure the theme you pick is easy to navigate, has an uncomplicated design and provides users with exactly what they’re looking for. Here, simple is brilliant!

Readability

A good website theme ensures high readability. To ensure high readability, choose a theme with a font that is consistent and easy on the eyes. Paragraphs are part of every website that has some content. Paragraphs are important whether they are written blocks of text spanning an entire page or just 1-sentence long. However, writing illegible blocks of text is a No-no.

If you desire well-structured paragraphs on your site, then ensure they’re formatted well. The style, spacing and position of typography is what generates this formatting.  Also, website designers and developers recommend using a theme that allows plenty of whitespace.

Desktop and Mobile Optimization

It is important for you to choose a website theme that is optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing.  Today, more than a billion people use their mobile phones to search the internet for the information and/or the products/services they need. And, this makes it essential to have a mobile-friendly website. Before choosing a theme, double check to ensure that it’s optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing.

If that isn’t already the case, optimizing website for mobile browsers will become essential in the coming future as all predictions and recommendations point towards it.No extensive analysis is required to comprehend the importance of doing this.

Instead, there are examples of this in our everyday life. Honestly, all it takes to realize the importance of optimizing website for mobile viewing or browsing is paying closer attention to the devices people commonly use in their daily communication, public places and transport.

Browser Compatibility

It is extremely important for you to choose a browse that is compatible with all browsers. Regardless of the browser it is accessed on, your website needs to be fully responsive as this will as this will ensure a good user experience and even help to increase your search engine rankings, along with many other benefits. Your theme will be of no good if it works perfectly on one browser but seems crooked on another. You can check the theme on different browsers by running some basic tests.

In addition to browser compatibility, ensure that the website them you choose is SEO-friendly. SEO-friendly themes will help you to get found online. For most beginners, diving into a code of a theme and then analyzing its SEO friendliness can be a real challenge.If you’re among them, then we would recommend that you take help from professional developers or design teams to fine a theme that is SEO-friendly and helps you get found online.

Plugins

It is important for you to ensure that the website theme you choose supports all major plugins. In fact, it is one of the most important steps in choosing the right website theme. Additionally, it allows you to have control over your website. In case you have a WordPress website, make sure to choose a theme that supports plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast and W3 Total Cache. This is in your own best interest.

There you have it—the 5 things to consider when selecting a website theme. In addition to the above, you can reach out to the experts such as us to choose the right theme for your website.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | League City  | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

Samsung’s Foldable Display Business Is Coming

Foldable PhoneOver the years, Samsung—the South Korean Multinational electronics and tech company, has produced many aesthetically pleasing and functionally brilliant electronic items including a wide range of eye-catching smart phones. In fact, Samsung’s smart phones have been the main competitor to the iPhone in the past decade or so. Now, the company is hoping to slash iPhone’s market share with unique Smartphone offerings such as the rumored foldable Galaxy X. Here’s more about Samsung’s foldable phone display business!

Foldable phones are not a thing of the future, they are already here. And, the company that will be registering its name in history as the first to launch a foldable smartphone is Samsung.

Throughout 2017, rumors were flying around that Samsung was going to launch a foldable Galaxy X soon but there was nothing substantial backing the rumor until January 31 when Samsung unveiled its plans to manufacture foldable screens.  On January 31, Samsung announced in a public meeting with investors that it will be launching the foldable Galaxy X in 2018. The South Korean multinational company is aiming to differentiate itself from the competition by introducing cutting-edge products such as the foldable OLED smartphones.

According to some sources, the actual release date for the foldable Galaxy X may be somewhere at the end of your year, with December being the most likely month for the it.

How the Foldable Smartphones Came About

Contrary to popular belief, the concept of foldable phones is nothing new. In fact, it was Samsung itself that gave the world a prototype of this cutting-edge technology. This was in 2011 when Samsung created a foldable phone prototype that looked kind of awkward but worked quite well to the surprise of many people out there. Even after a hundred thousand folds, the device remained intact, and its brightness at the center, dropped by just 6%.

While the product didn’t go up for sale that year, the South Korean electronics company released a concept video showcasing a transparent and fully bendable device capable of transitioning from a phone-sized screen to a tablet-sized one. This made clear the ambitions of Samsung for the technology.

What Samsung’s Hopes to Gain from Its Foldable Display Business

According to a statement released by Samsung, the foldable display business of the company that includes the foldable OLED displays will help drive its growth in 2018. Samsung is hoping that its foldable technology/products will help distinguish the company from its competitors. The foldable business is part of Samsung’s efforts to grow revenue rapidly, which includes the sale of the Bixby voice assistant technology.

With many patents being filed by different smart phone manufacturers including Samsung, Microsoft, and LG, phones unfolding into seamless full-screen tablets have been on the agenda since long. However, the lack of folding displays has prevented this from becoming a reality. Samsung hopes to launch the foldable phone sometime this year, but it will only put the phone up for sale once it has ‘overcome’ the problems with this product.

Starting as a concept in 2011, Samsung’s foldable displays might finally see the day of light in 2018. However, only time will reveal what the launch of these displays means for Samsung.

What We Know About the Foldable Galaxy X So Far

A lot has been said and written about the foldable Galaxy X that Samsung hopes to release sometime this year. However, no one is 100% sure about the phone’s features. Nonetheless, there are many rumored features of the phone and we will list the most interesting ones here.

A Splittable Display

It has been rumored that the foldable Galaxy X will give users the option of a bigger display. Additionally, some people are suggesting that the device would either open and close horizontally like a notepad or inward like a book. It is expected that the maximum screen size of this foldable smart phone would be comparable to that of a tablet.

However, the most interesting thing about the foldable phone is the potential ability to split the display into separate panels that show one big picture or two entirely different things. This ability is evident in other products of Samsung such as the ultrawide 48-inch computer monitor.

Built-in Screen Protector

Depending on its outside layer material, the foldable Galaxy X could serve as its own screen protector. However, if the device fell facedown then it might not provide much resistance, causing a substantial financial loss to the device’s owner.

It Will Make the Edge Panel Obsolete

The foldable Galaxy X is rumored will have curved edges and a foldable screen, which means that it won’t have the signature curved-display design and corresponding panel software typically seen in Samsung’s products. This may be the beginning of the end of the edge panel. Hosting shortcuts to apps and other easy-access functions, the edge panel of Samsung is essentially a second screen.

However, you cannot access the panel and the main screen at the same time, which is a limitation to ponder. With the foldable phone, users will be able to host more apps on the main screen and improve their ability to multitask among apps.

It Will Be More Expensive Than Other Smartphones

While it isn’t 100% certain, the foldable phone of Samsung is likely to more expensive than other smartphones in the market and this is understandable as foldable displays as the most innovative thing in the smartphone world to date.

Samsung’s foldable display business is coming and the company hopes that this will take it to new heights. However, only time will reveal what really happens. For now, you can get in touch with us to get more information on the foldable Galaxy X or find out about other similar technology in the market.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | League City  | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

Understanding PPC automation and How Technology is Aiding It

PPC Pay Per ClickThanks to automation, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is undergoing drastic changes today. PPC specialists are using automation to free themselves from mundane tasks of setting it up to focus on higher-value activities. Here is about PPC automation and how technology is aiding it!

Today, automation and advancements in technology are helping search marketing to become more effective for businesses and less tiresome for those carrying it out. To help improve their performance, advertising services such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords have provided advertisers with several automation tools in the past few years.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a surge in the number of networks requiring management. Additionally, using these platforms is becoming more complicated each day. In such times, search engine marketers need automation or they will find it extremely difficult to focus on things really valued by clients in an agency.

However, by enabling automation, agencies can lower the pressure on PPC account managers—allowing them to manage their accounts efficiently and free-up time for higher-value activities that cannot be performed by machines yet. To provide you with some inspiration to move to automation, here are some of the ways PPC automation can help you and your clients.

Automated Bid Management

A time-consuming activity, managing your bids manually can make it virtually impossible for you to supervise across larger accounts. For this reason, employing a machine to manage your bids is a more logical and profitable way to manage bids. When it comes to automated bid management, you have a few different options available to you—with some methods being more advanced than the others.

The most basic way you can use automation for managing your bids today are using advertising platforms such as Google AdWords at the keyword, ad group, or campaign level. As part of Google’s smart bidding service, a set of conversion-based bid strategies use avant-garde machine learning to modify bids based on a plethora of real-time signals including language, device, operating system, remarketing list and time of day. The interface includes the following smart bidding strategies.

Target CPA Bidding

With this bidding strategy, you can set bids for unlimited conversions at a predetermined target cost per acquisition (CPA).

Target ROAS

Based on ROAS or target return-on-ad-spend, this bidding strategy targets more revenue or conversion value.

Enhanced CPC

This bidding strategy automatically increases your maximum CPC bid by searching ad auctions most likely to result in conversions.

Max Conversions

This bidding strategy finds an optimal CPC bid automatically by leveraging historical data and appraising contextual signals.

While the aforementioned- strategies are a good option for standard AdWords users, they don’t have the customization and control offered by automation methods such as AdWords scripts. By allowing you to interact with external data and automate common procedures, AdWords scripts help save a lot of your valuable time. A few free scripts are available to you to change bids automatically. In fact, some agencies are saving their PPC account managers a lot of time by creating scripts that automatically alter bids for each product group based on a target return on investment (ROI) figure.

The Impact of Automation on Pay-per-click Campaigns

Every PPC specialist has been talking about automation ever since ad networks Facebook Ads and Google AdWords introduced their rules for automation. Thanks to automation, many mundane tasks such as modifying bids, scheduling ads, or halting low performing campaigns can now be carried out automatically. This is the reason more and more PPC specialists are seeing automation as an inherent part of their work life.

By automating mundane tasks, PPC experts have allowed themselves to focus on higher-value activities. This in turn has benefited their agency as well their clients. PPC automation is still in its infancy and is far from being perfect. Only through trial and error are search marketing agencies able to find which tasks to automate and which ones to handle manually. The PPC world is still getting used to automation and they are many important tasks that PPC experts need to perform manually.

However, improvements in artificial intelligence and the advent of technologies such as big data and machine learning have the potential to change both automation and the search marketing field. To benefit from the advancements in technology and automation, PPC experts must keep themselves aware of the latest developments in machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation in addition to what’s transpiring in their area of expertise.

The Purposes PPC Automation Can Serve

PPC automation can help PPC experts and agencies to save both time and money. Following are some of the things PPC automation can be used for:

Reporting

PPC automation can be used to automate reporting including reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs), and metrics.

Alerts

PPC automation can be set up for low-performing keyword, ad groups and campaigns.

Repetitive Tasks

This is something we have already touched on. With PPC automation, agencies can automate the mundane or repetitive tasks—saving valuable time and effort.

Advanced Optimizations

PPC automation allows PPC specialists to halt performing campaigns and optimize for custom metrics

There are many ways of automating Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing to achieve the above purposes including AdWords scripts, AdWords API, and enterprise cross-channel bid platforms. Some of these methods have been discussed above.

Final Word!

PPC automation is changing not just search engine marketing, but also the digital landscape. There are many potential benefits of making the switch to PPC automation and some of them have been mentioned above. If you want to know more about how to transition to automated Pay-per-click marketing or how PPC automation can help you, then get in touch with us today!

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | League City  | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

10 Great Gifts to Give Your Tech-Obsessed BAE This Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day TechnologyValentine’s Day is here—it’s a day to renew vows and dwell on all the wonderful years you’ve spent with your one, true love. But, it is also a day to exhibit your love and affection for your bae, which generally means bestowing them with gifts. Flower bouquets, and expensive chocolates, watches or handbags are some safe choices as Valentine’s day gifts, but if your bae has even the slightest interest in tech, then here are some great tech-gifts to give this valentine!

It’s Valentine’s Day again—the day on the calendar couples or lovers look forward to the most. But, the days leading up to V-day can be frantic for most people as they need to find a special gift for the special person in their life. Box of chocolates, stuffed toy, flower bouquet or handbags for women and watches, ties or wallet for men are safe choices that most people pick as valentine gifts. But, it wouldn’t hurt do things a bit differently this year.

Regardless of gender, tech gadgets are something most people love. Gadgets make our lives convenient, are stylish to carry and last longer than Valentine gifts such as chocolates or flower bouquets. While tech gadgets make great Valentine’s Day gifts, you should gift a gadget to your bae that adds value to their life. Here are 10 great gifts to give your tech-obsessed bae this Valentine’s Day.

Tile Mate Key and Phone Finder

Is your bae forgetful? If yes, then the Tile Mate Key and Phone Finder is the perfect gift to give your lover this Valentine’s Day. A high-tech tracker, Tile Mate Key and Phone Finder connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and can be attached to any wallet or keychain, helping you find misplaced wallets or keys.

Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Wireless headphones that you can use at the gym, in the office, or on the go, Solo3 wireless headphones are both functional and stylish, making them a great Valentine’s Day gift. The headphones have integrated controls that allow you to control music and take calls. Additionally, they come with a batter life of up to forty hours. The headphones are available in nine different colors so you are sure to find Solo3 wireless headphones in a color preferred by your bae.

Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer Series 7200

If you like your man with a trimmed beard, then this may be the perfect gift to give him this Valentine’s Day. Properly trimmed beards can look great on anyone and well-groomed beards require a great beard trimmer. Featuring a built-in vacuum that suck up hairs mowed by the trimmer, the Phillips Norelco beard trimmer ensure a well-trimmed beard without leaving any hair on the sink.

Skagen’s Mini Hald Hybrid Smartwatch

A beautifully designed smartwatch, the Mini Hald hybrid watch from Skagen has a sleek appearance and looks like a regular watch, but it is much more than that. After you connect the watch with your smartphone using the Skagen app, the watch will send you notifications whenever you receive a call, email or text. So, if you don’t want your bae to be glued to their mobile screen all the time, then this is a great gift to give them this Valentine’s Day.

VirZOOM Virtual Reality Exercise Bike and Games

This is the perfect gift to give people who love to exercise and play video games. A stationary bike, the VirZOOM Virtual Reality comes with a virtual reality headset that immerses users in different game environments as they bike, which makes exercising more entertaining and engaging than ever before.

Fizzics Waytap Beer Dispenser

If your bae loves a cold glass of beer, then Fizzics Waytap Beer Dispenser can turn a bottle or can into draught beer within minutes to provide your significant other with beer on tap in the comfort of their own home.

Fujifilm Instax Share smartphone printer

Instagram posts are fun, but they lack the aura of physical photos. If you use a smartphone to snap the memorable moments in your life, then the Fujifilm Instax Share smartphone printer will ensure that you have physical copy of it to hold on for life. Snap a picture with your smart phone, connect the Instax printer to it via the app and start making copies.

Google Home Mini

You can make the life of your bae more convenient by gifting them the Google Home Mini this Valentine’s day. Small in size but mighty in function, Google Home Mini can answer almost anything you ask it. Additionally, it can control certain smart home devices, set reminders, manage your calendar and stream music. In short, the Google Home Mini is one of the best gifts to give anyone this Valentine’s Day.

Lechal Smart Navigation and Fitness Tracking

If your bae is a techie who loves being outdoors, then this is a great gift to give them this Valentine’s Day. Insoles that turn regular shoes into smart shoes, Lechal Smart Navigation and Fitness Trackers connect to an app to track steps, calories burnt and a lot more. A great thing about these smart insoles is that they can last up to fifteen days on a single charge

Bluesmart One

This is the perfect gift to give someone who is always on the go. A smart suitcase, Bluesmart One comes with built-in GPS tracking, charging capabilities and a scale.

Valentine’s Day is a great time to exhibit your love and affection for that special someone in your life. Giving your bae or significant other any of the aforementioned-gifts is a great way to do that. Connect touch with us today for more tech-gift ideas!

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | League City  | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

5 Healthcare Technology Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

Healthcare Trends 2018Every day, new technology is being adopted by healthcare organizations. Instrumental in shaping the healthcare industry as we know today, technology has completely changed how things are done in the healthcare sector including giving more control to consumers/patients. New technological developments in the healthcare sector are expected this year as well. Here are 5 healthcare technology trends to watch out for in 2018

As more and more organizations in the healthcare sector adopt technology, many new trends are emerging that will help reshape the care being provided to patients. The trends are enabled by automation and artificial intelligence and have the potential to change healthcare as we know it today. Here are 5 healthcare technology trends to watch out for in 2018.

1.     Increased Use of Cloud Computing

For both patients and doctors, cloud technology is making healthcare and patient information more accessible. Without much waiting, patients can access their test results on the cloud from the comfort of their home. It is predicted that in 2018, mobile devices will be used for more than half of the interactions with healthcare facilities and experts in some developed countries.

Today, more and more tech-savvy doctors are using medical apps to frequently check up on drug and patient care information. Paper records of the patient are fast becoming a thing of the past. To get round the clock access to the medical records and test results of patients, many hospitals and clinicians are storing the records of the patient over the cloud. Moreover, they are investing time and money into data security to comply to the laws of patient privacy and this trend is likely grow in 2018.

2.     Telehealth

Already a popular medicine field, telehealth is likely to expand and reach many new healthcare areas in 2018. To put it simply, telehealth is the means for delivering and supporting health education and enhancing public health via telecommunications technology. You have experienced telehealth if have sent and received emails from a GP or other healthcare specialist online.

Today, telehealth includes apps for tracking food intake or exercise, portals for seeing test results, and text reminders that notify you about appointments. Telehealth is expected to expand in 2018 and reach those in rural or remote areas where accessing healthcare facilities and providers can be a challenge. Since it allows doctors to track their patients from miles away, the use of telehealth to wirelessly transfer healthcare information will increase during the year.

Since mobile devices are technology best enabling telehealth, you should be ready for more mobile apps that connect patients with healthcare providers to be developed in 2018.

3.     Wearables that Track and Analyze Health

Wearable tech such as fit bits, activity trackers, and smartwatches etc. is helping many people today to optimize their health and lifestyle. With the help of these devices, people can set fitness goals, track them and ultimately accomplish them. To encourage today’s consumer to move towards a healthies lifestyle, healthcare technology such as wearable tech is creating a gamification environment.

Using the wearables tech, people are counting steps and calories to set up their health goals. As technology has become more accessible and advanced, wearables that monitor and track health are becoming common. Thanks to this seamless physical and digital integration, consumers today can take control of their well-being beyond clinical requirements. Today, the quality of life for today’s consumers has enhanced thanks to tech such as health wearables and this technology is expected to reshape how manage their health on a daily basis in the future.

4.     Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things Will Assume a Key Role

The field of Internet of Things and Artificial intelligence may experience significant investments from healthcare providers in 2018. Healthcare technology is expected to experience significant advancements in 2018—which will affect the healthcare workforce and make the use of technology in the sector crucial. In addition to being useful in making clinical insights more accurate, the use of artificial intelligence and Internet of things in the healthcare sector will minimize manual redundancy and lower errors as the world transitions to quality healthcare.

5.     Chat Bots

Generally, when people hear the word ‘chat bots’, they immediately start to think of intelligent personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa ore Apple’s Siri. Chat bots in healthcare are not much different from them. Powered by artificial intelligence or commands, traditional chat bots—known as command-based chat bots, execute simple tasks such as telling you about the weather when asked.

On the other hand, bots powered by artificial intelligence are more complicated. To learn and connect with humans, these bots use data and algorithms. In the healthcare sector, these bots can act as a middleman between healthcare practitioners and patients. Let’s say you’re suffering from a viral infection, but are confused about visiting the doctor’s office at the time. An artificial intelligence bot will respond to your questions regarding your illness and then either schedule an appointment for you or link you to a real healthcare practitioner if required.

Think of artificial intelligence bots as your own personal medical assistants that can help you to keep track of your health. By scheduling your doctor appointments, informing you about the time to take your medicines, tracking your well-being and alerting a healthcare practitioner if required, AI bots can help you maintain optimal health.

The five healthcare technology trends mentioned above are the trends to watch out for in 2018 as they have the potential to completely reshape the healthcare industry including changing how care is provided to patients and how patient information is stored and transmitted. Get in touch with us to find out more trends that are changing the healthcare sector.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

Self-Driving BMW You Can Take Around CES

Self driving BMW Lyft—an on-demand transportation company based in San Francisco, has partnered with the global automotive parts technology company Aptiv, to take people around Las Vegas in a self-driving BMW 5 Series during CES 2018. The rides will be completely driverless and the cars will travel to twenty preprogrammed destinations. Here is more on it!

Though Aptiv—formerly known as Delphi, has previously given rides in its self-driving cars, the CES 2018 will be the first time the rides aren’t contained in one specific drive loop. During CES 2018, the rides in the driverless cars will be to twenty different destinations in Las Vegas. People visiting the CES 2018 will be able to request for a ride in one of the self-driving BMW 5 Series cars from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the twenty preprogrammed destinations using the Lyft app.

To avail the ride, you will have to go through an exhibit that talks about the benefits of self-driving cars. However, this is a small price to pay for a ride that you may get to experience only once in your lifetime. While self-driving cars have been on exhibit at the event for a few years now, CES 2018 is the first time ever that attendees will be offered rides in these cars.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

How many times have you been driven around town by a driverless car? Unless you’re employed by a company that manufactures driverless cars, the answer is likely to be zero. However, CES 2018 offers people an opportunity to avail the once in a lifetime experience of riding in a self-driving car. Aptiv and Lyft has joined hands to offer rides around Las Vegas in driverless cars during CES 2018.

Though they the rides will be self-driven, there will be a safety driver behind the wheel in case the car is faced with a situation it does not have the ability to handle. Additionally, the cars have been preprogrammed to travel to only twenty destinations around Vegas. Nonetheless, this is a significant new development as generally companies at CES exhibit their self-driving cars in closed parking lots and completely control the experience in them.

Aptiv and Lyft have taken a big risk by offering people attending CES 2018 rides in their driverless cars. However, it is also a bold step that could completely change how people travel in the future. During the CES 2018 held between January 9 and 12, passengers for the rides will be picked up from the Gold Lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

A fleet of 8 BMW 5 Series sedans equipped with Aptiv’s automated driving technology will conduct the rides. Passengers will need to attend a brief lecture about the benefits of automated driving before they’re allowed to ride in a driverless BMW 5 series. In addition to a driver behind the wheel, the BMWs will have a ‘car-host’ who will explain the car’s functions to the passengers. Aptiv believes that the above initiative taken by the company will exhibit how automated cars can benefit the lives of individuals and communities.

Things You Will Notice in the Self-driving BMW 5 Series Cars

If you attend the CES 2018 and catch of glimpse of the driverless BMW on display by Aptiv, the first thing that you will probably notice is that the car does not have any bulky cameras or LiDAR sensors. A car free of all that, Aptiv’s self-driving BMW is mysteriously smooth. Additionally, Aptiv claims that the car has more tech than what catches the eye. Better yet, the company believes the system could be scaled for production by 2019.

For over three years, Aptiv has been demonstrating its self-driving cars at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 2016, the company partnered with Mobileye—a vision technology company founded in Israel and recently acquired by Intel, to exhibit its latest autonomous capabilities on a course that stretches over six miles and goes through the heart of Las Vegas. The drive included testing maneuvers such as a tunnel, congested streets with cyclists and pedestrians and highway merges.

The years the company has spent mapping Las Vegas’ intersections and streets and gathering data related to the infamous traffic congestion of the city is the reason why Aptiv, and not the other companies enabling self-driving cars, have been chosen by Lyft for the demonstration at CES 2018. Recently, the company has equipping a range of vehicles with lots of sensors and its software stack.

Aptiv’s engineering and program management VP James Ziselman has revealed that the driverless vehicles enabled by the company are equipped with twenty-one sensors including ten radars, nine lidar, and two front cameras—with one camera built for traffic recognition and other being a tri-focal i.e. a camera with three different focal points.

Since there are times when one sensor says something and the other doesn’t, all the incoming data is fused. To enable decision-making, the data passes through an algorithm and some artificial intelligence.

Self-Driving Shuttles Will Also Feature in Vegas During CES

The self-driving BMW cars by Aptiv and Lyft won’t be the only vehicles you see on the roads of Vegas during CES 2018. The city’s roads will also play host to self-driving shuttles jointly operated by Navya—a French tech company, and Kelios—a transit firm based in Boston. While they may not roam the streets of Vegas during CES, several other autonomous vehicles will be on display at the consumer electronics show this year.

It is not every day that you get to ride in a self-driving car. For this reason, riding in one of driverless BMW’s at CES 2018 is an opportunity that you just cannot afford to miss.

Contact Us

Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

3 Internet of Things Companies to watch in 2018

internet of things 2018It is hard not to get excited about Internet of Things (IoT). A broad category, IoT covers nearly every company—tech or otherwise. For those who aren’t versed with the concept, Internet of Things refers to the ever-growing world of interconnected household and internet devices. Over the past few years, many companies have invested heavily in Internet of Things to come up with praiseworthy innovations. More of the same is expected in 2018 with the following three IoT companies being touted as the ones to watch out for!

Today, the internet of things (IoT) is much more than just a buzzword. Now, you can find the application of IoT in many homes, businesses and even factories all over the world. IoT is already making big waves in countries such as the U.S and the United Kingdom and it is expected that in 2018, many other countries will enter the fold. Considering that Internet of Things is increasing in popularity each day, it should not come as a surprise that many companies—including some established names, are investing heavily in IoT.

Leading the Vision of an Ever-Connected Physical World

Evolving and expanding each day, the internet of things (IoT) is becoming more and more beneficial for connecting our devices, appliances, homes and vehicles to each other. As they have taken responsibility of developing and promoting IoT upon themselves, some IoT companies are instantly recognizable today. However, many other companies are waiting in the wings to show the world exactly how they can benefit the internet of things.

Today, Internet of things is no longer a CES hype; rather, it is a reality embraced by companies and people all over the world. People are now accustomed to wearing Apple watches and Fitbits and pressing their Amazon Dash button when needing to replenish an item for daily/weekly use. Additionally, IoT devices such as Smart refrigerators have enabled people to take inventory and re-stock edibles without opening the door of their fridge. Other household items enabled by IoT can also perform similar function.

As mentioned earlier, many IoT companies are waiting in the wings to contribute to the internet of Things and help it involve. Following are the top three internet of things companies to watch out for in 2018.

General Electric

One of the largest and most well-known companies in America, General Electric or GE has embraced IoT wholeheartedly to stay relevant and reinvent itself. To have a team focusing specifically on IoT and its aspects, GE created a parallel organization known as General Electric Digital in 2015. Additionally, General Electric was one of the companies that founded the Industrial Internet Consortium in 2014—a group working to bring internet of things to the factory floor. But, these aren’t the only contributions made by GE to IoT. Predix—a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering of GE Digital, integrates traditional and cloud databases with machine-generated data. The purpose of the Predix software is to scrutinize the big data stores generated by IoT using the latest neutral network technologies to help companies search for chunks of insight.

To make them smarter and more 21st century like, General electric has reshaped many of its offerings to enable them to generate data flows that are as valuable as the product as the offerings themselves. IoT products already offered by GE include Grid IQ solutions for utility companies and products for airline fuel optimization and hospital operations management.

The company is now aiming to be a major supplier for industrial IoT. Also, GE has joined hands with Accenture to create Taleris—a intelligent system for diagnosing and predicting beforehand aircraft maintenance issues to ensure vehicles work optimally and are fit for purpose. In addition to General Electric, some other established names are also investing in IoT and one of them is Schneider Electric.

Schneider Electric

Just like General Electric, Schneider Electric has made internet of things a priority. The company is currently working to reshape its business and products to enable them for IoT. A well-established and known multinational corporation headquartered in France, Schneider is embracing internet of things to not energize to only its own business, but also that of its customers.

Two years ago, the company announced an IoT cloud service that would link its offerings across its portfolio of products—including switches, breakers and distribution items. More IoT innovations by Schneider Electric are expected this year so you would do well to closely follow the company during 2018.

Rolls Royce

Another established company that is spending money on IoT innovations is Rolls Royce—the British manufacturer of luxury cars. While not strictly an IoT company, Rolls Royce is leading the way when it comes to innovations in the internet of things.

To track performance and identify any problems before they actually materialize, Rolls Royce equips its jet engines with sensors enabled by IoT. Additionally, the company diagnosis these problems and reports them back to airlines by using the Cortana intelligence suite and the Azure IoT suite of Microsoft.

By using the Stream Analytics and Power BI of Azure, Rolls Royce is able to extract sensor data from its engines and connect it with information from air traffic control such as weather, route data and the aircraft’s fuel usage. This allows the company to get an overall picture of its engines’ health. By enabling innovations in IoT, the company is aiming to make airlines more efficient and streamline, which in turn will help them to make better decision regarding route choice and aircraft options.

In addition to the three companies mentioned above, there are many other IoT companies to watch out for in 2018. If you’re interested in finding out about them, then stay tuned for more!

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

5 Business Technology Trends to Look For in 2018

Technology has completely changed how businesses operate –helping them to mprove their operations and become more accessible to employees and customers. For this reason, staying on top of technology trends is crucial for any business to gain an advantage over competitors. To make things easy for you, here are the 5 business technology trends to look for in 2018!

With the holiday period over, it’s time for entrepreneurs and business owners to focus on what’s most important to them—the health of their business. The year has just started and businesses have a lot to look forward including new trends in technology. Whether you’re an established company or a startup, it is crucial for you to stay in top of the technology trends. Regardless of the market you serve or the industry you belong to, these trends will have an impact on your business.

Gartner—the American tech research and advisory firm, predicts that 2018 will be the year of intelligent systems. According to the company headquartered in Connecticut, intelligence will impact virtually every aspect of the business during the year. And, this is expected to be the key business technology trend to watch in 2018.  It is predicted that intelligent systems will cause a shift in existing business operations—paving the way for new models to take center stage. So, what are the top business technology trends that you can expect to see in 2018? Let’s find out.

Intelligent Apps and Analytics

It is predicted that in 2018, Artificial intelligence (AI) will be used by virtually every technology to enable autonomous, self-guiding processes or intelligent actions. And, as a result, incorporating Ai into their services, apps and platforms will be required by most businesses to gain a competitive edge. An example of this is CRM systems, which are now enabled with intelligent systems to get data on product lines, existing customer accounts, customer prospects, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, AI will not supplant human effort in 2018 instead it will supplement it. AI systems are there to assist human being not replace them so keep this in mind when making business decisions.

Digital Twins

Digital representations of real-life objects, digital twins are a major business technology trend to look for in 2018. These digital representations can help businesses to improve their operations and make them more efficient. For example, by equipping wind turbines with IoT sensors, you can monitor their physical existence for performance, maintenance issues and environmental data. While only a handful of businesses are using digital twins in their operations today, it is predicted that millions of businesses around the world will be using this business technology in the near future.

Intelligent Devices

Another business technology trend that will take center stage in 2018 is the use of intelligent devices by businesses. While this isn’t possible today, physical devices such as robots, drones, sensors and autonomous vehicles will collaborate with humans in the future to drive AI capabilities. Some technology experts believe that this will have a huge impact on businesses. In addition to informing production systems about the state of machines, AI technology in 2018 will be able to inform them about the state of people, which can be significantly benefit emergency health care services and other businesses in the healthcare sector.

Conversational Systems

Designed to answer basic queries related to location and weather, conversational system can be used to complete other more complex tasks such as buying tickets for a movie online. In the past, these systems required human involvement to accommodate machines. However, today there are more people-literate and can interact on a human level. Going into the future, this can be a major benefit for many businesses.

Blockchain

Today, all eyes are on blockchain due to the recent surge in the value of Bitcoin—a cryptocurrency enabled by the technology. While it is the technology enabling cryptocurrencies, Blockchain is not all about them. It has potential application in other areas as well including business operations. Businesses can resolve some the most pressing issues they face today such as keeping track of the supply chain and enabling a way to enforce smart contracts by using the innovative solutions provided by the blockchain technology.

It is crucial for businesses to be aware of the development in the blockchain applications, and closely follow the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency payments. A transactional exchange, blockchain enables the exchange of value without the involvement of an intermediary such as a bank. A shared, secured, distributed ledger, blockchain has the potential to make transactions more secure and less plagued with fraud and friction. Things other than cryptocurrencies that blockchain can be enable for include supply, healthcare, and distribution of content. While blockchain can enable many benefits for business, there is a danger—the technology is largely unregulated and in its infancy.

Augmented Reality

One of the goals of augmented reality (AR) is to bring the digital realm into real life. This provides customers with a great opportunity to interact with brands. While it may take some time for this technology trend to take center stage, you would do well to keep an eye on it in 2018. Also, think about how you can use this technology in your own marketing to provide potential customers with an enjoyable and unique experience not offered by any of your competitors.

There you have it—5 business technology trends to look for in 2018. In addition to these business technology trends, you should keep an eye on other technology trends relevant to your business or industry. You can find out about the 2018 business technology trends relevant to your business or industry by searching the internet or getting in touch with us today!

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

How Businesses Are Using Drones

You’re probably aware of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—the drones used by the military. But, did you know that drones are now being used by businesses in operations and for marketing purposes? The drone technology has now been commercialized and here’s how businesses are making use of it!

No one can deny and forget the contributions of the military to the drone technology. They are the ones that provided the world with the drone technology—technology facilitating innovations in unique ways and this has attracted the attention of businesses. Many businesses today are using and benefiting from the drones and drone technology.

Drone are commonplace today and you will find them literally everywhere. One of the most sought-after Christmas gifts in recent times, drones have rapidly increased in use in businesses over the past couple of years.  However, the increased popularity of drones has given rise to the concerns regarding the use and regulations of the technology. But, this is understandable given that we’ve had drones used by sports networks crash into spectator stands, drones that have flown into restricted areas and drones that have intruded the privacy of celebrities by trying to capture them in their homes.

While there are some security and safety concerns related to the use of drones, the technology is expected to unlock many opportunities in the future. In fact, it is predicted to generate over 100,000 jobs across various industries by 2050 in Europe alone. Considering the massive interest in drone technology today, now is the best time to look at some of the ways drones are being used in business. So, without any further ado, here are five ways businesses are using drones today.

Photography

Photography is probably the most common commercial application of drones. The industry that has most warmed up to the idea of using drones for photography is the film industry, which comes as no surprise. For them, the technology is an upgrade to the traditional methods of photography.  It’s not just that the film industry has benefited from the drone technology; it is also the other around. The industry has played a key role in increasing the popularity of drones, enabling the authorities to experience the simple use of drones. For professional photographers and journalists, a drone that can be used to capture images is a game-changer.

Inspections

For several types of inspections, drones are a useful technology to have. For instance, drones can be used by oil companies to perform inspection in remote destinations. Additionally, thanks to drone technology, wind heavy engineers no longer require brining in heavy lifting equipment or putting people at risk of injury to inspect wind turbines and turbine props. Compared to the job performed by a human, a drone can do a better work of capturing HD video of every crack, support, crevice and joint on a bridge simply because the drone is not hindered by any safety restrictions and most environmental variables.

Enhancing Security

Since the day the technology was introduced, security has been a common application of drones. Today, many U.S. states have proposed bills to legalize the use of drones by police. The device is able to stay inactive until the activation of a sensor if the drone is customized with sensors. Since you can program a drone to alert an owner and capture footage of a trespass after activation, the technology is extremely useful in enhancing the security of your business. There are practical uses of this application in the commercial sector.

While drones for enhancing security have not been built specifically for businesses, the potential benefit of this technology for businesses has increased its demand for commercial use.  This technology is also benefiting private security firms as drones allow them to improve their work efficiency. In security, high-quality surveillance is an important function, a function enabled by the mobility of drones.

Real Estate

For real estate agents or investors, major factors affecting the business income include the site location and view. Generally, clients are looking for a strategically located property with a serene environment. For buyers, the real estate aesthetics is a major factor determining their decision regarding a property. For this reason, a good way to win over buyers is a tour of the property performed through live footage.

You can increase the quality of services you provide to your clients with remote property surveys. Thanks to the drone technology, relators can now create awe-inspiring video tours of their properties. Additionally, drones allow you to capture areas that are difficult to reach on foot as well as capture video footage of large properties. In addition to the realtors, companies that perform home inspections can also benefit from this technology. By using drone to inspect properties, home inspection services can save time, energy and money.

Construction

Closely related to the application of the technology in real estate, drone application in construction is a convenient way to survey dangerous or inaccessible construction sites. Drones help construction businesses achieve this by enabling quick and inexpensive walkthroughs through a project from remote locations. With drones, construction businesses can easily scan the quality of the work, or view the specifics, such as roofing or chimney from the ground. Since it allows more durable structures to be built, the drone technology is critical for driving the construction industry and adding value to it.

There you have it—five ways drones are being used in business today. However, this is not an exhaustive list and there are many other applications of the drone technology in business. if you’re interested in finding out about the other ways businesses are using drones, then get in touch with us today!

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

Impending Bubble or Surefire Bet: How to Explain the Soaring Price of Bitcoin

Bitcoin InvestingWhen a whitepaper drawing out the framework for a radical, new decentralized virtual currency, began making its way around obscure cryptography newsletters in 2008, few but the most hardcore tech nerds gave the idea any credence. Yet, in just under a decade this once unheralded innovation has gone from a price of $0.30 per coin, to almost $20,000 a token.

With the current market for Bitcoin coming in at over $300 billion dollars, everyone from media outlets, to financial conglomerates, to government regulators across the world, seems to be sitting up and taking notice.

But how did a currency that was once known solely as the preferred method of payment for illicit deals on the internet’s black markets become the mainstream juggernaut it is today?

Embracing the Establishment

Admittedly the profile of the average Bitcoin investor has changed somewhat over the past couple of years. Where once, free market extremists and hackers drove cryptocurrency prices, today a score of major Wall Street players are pouring their money into Bitcoin. In fact, many of these well-established institutional investors have set up hedge funds specifically for the purpose of capitalizing on the rapidly appreciating virtual currency.

Respected financial leaders including: Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfien, and IMF head Christine Lagarde, have only added fuel to the fire, by expressing their interest in the possibilities offered by the easily accessible exchange system.

As stock exchanges open their doors to trading on Bitcoin futures, the currency now finds itself under the regulatory purview of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. And the CFTC has been quick to make its presence felt. Under new proposed guidelines issued by the agency, any contract which fails to result in a handover of virtual currency within 28 days will result in the transaction being treated as a futures contract; with all the strict oversight that entails.

The increased scrutiny on risky transactions is expected to reduce some of the characteristic volatility of Bitcoin, as safer, more liquid investment begins to enter the market.

Greater Usage

Not only is Bitcoin being traded more often on a daily basis, an increasing number of consumers are beginning to use the currency for transactional purposes. In just the past couple of years the number of transactions made using Bitcoin has grown from 50,000 to 140,000 per day; with the average daily value of these exchanges pegged at around $1.5 billion in late October.

Today, major online retailers such as Overstock, Expedia and Newegg accept Bitcoin payment for their goods and services. With Japan authorizing Bitcoin as an official payment method in early 2017, an estimated 260,000 brick and mortar stores across the country have responded, by adapting their checkout options to include Bitcoin payment through mobile applications. As countries like Russia and India look to follow suit, it seems clear that widespread acceptance in other industries across the world is soon to follow. Indeed just this past Friday two luxury homes in the UK were sold using Bitcoin as the method of payment.

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Many industry insiders blame Bitcoin’s surging popularity on simple human emotion. With Bitcoin rising almost 5000% since early January, many investors are driven to buy through the fear of missing out on the surging currency now, while there’s still a chance for even greater appreciation. This is despite the fact that selling Bitcoin at market value is a far more difficult proposition, than buying it, at this point in time.

For many Bitcoin adopters, investment in the currency is a signal of confidence in the future of the blockchain. These cryptocurrency enthusiasts are buying Bitcoin for the future promise it holds as a store of value, than as an investment to sell or hold.  In a world where many Bitcoin fanatics expect the currency to surpass a million dollars per coin in just a few years, that doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea anymore.

Move to the Lightning Network

One of the biggest stumbling blocks facing Bitcoin currently is the speed and price of transactions on the main blockchain.

Currently, the network only allows 1MB of data to be allocated to each block of a Bitcoin transaction. This means that there’s a very limited amount capacity available for each new transaction; and the capacity that is available will go towards the highest bidder. So the average consumer could find themselves paying $9-$12 for a simple transaction that takes up to 10 minutes to go through. For a currency that prides itself on being accessible and responsive, those sorts of issues don’t exactly engender customer goodwill.

Lightning builds upon the decentralization of Bitcoin, by adding smart contract functionality to the blockchain. By moving Bitcoin transactions to this new protocol, it would become possible to make payments to other network participants in milliseconds. The increased capacity of the network would also allow billions of transactions to take place at the same time, without any slowdown in speed.

Moving to Bitcoin transactions to the Lightning network would drastically reduce the cost of each transaction, and greatly ease the amount of congestion on the main block chain as well. All in all, this innovation could see Bitcoin truly become a viable method of payment for the everyday sale and purchase of goods.

With beta testing on Lightning finishing recently, industry insiders have drawn a strong correlation between this new protocol and the sudden surge in Bitcoin demand.

A Note for Concern

Even as institutional investors and private buyers alike continue to clamor for Bitcoin, many banks and trading groups are urging a more cautious approach. Sudden swings in value are very common with the cryptocurrency. In April 2013, Bitcoin rose as high as $223 only to fall back down to $63 almost overnight. In November of that same year prices skyrocketed to $1150 only to crash to $500 by December.  It’s this sort of volatility that gives many investors pause for thought when it comes to Bitcoin investments.

Many of these parties are also concerned by the ease with which derivative trading on Bitcoin was okayed by the CFTC. While the currency is certainly riding high currently, shrewd market participants may be getting ready to short the stock in anticipation of a sudden price drop. With no fundamental value underlying Bitcoin, this sort of manipulation could see the pricing bubble collapse, suddenly and spectacularly as investors move to abandon ship.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.